Round three of the the Super 8s saw Hull FC take on Huddersfield Giants at the KCOM Stadium as the home side looked to make it a fifth consecutive win, whilst the Giants were looking to salvage their ailing Top 4 hopes.
Gareth Ellis, who recently announced his retirement at the end of the season, drove down the middle following a penalty and was able to touch down under the sticks for his first try of the season, Marc Sneyd adding the extras to make it 6-0 to the home side after ten minutes. A sweeping move from the Giants to the left edge led to a reply as Lee Gaskell passed to Darnell McIntosh who evaded Steve Michaels to score in the corner, Danny Brough unable to convert leaving Hull with a slender advantage. The away side were nearly in again as Gaskell’s tricky grubber-kick was dealt with by Mahe Fonua for a goal-line drop-out. It would only delay the inevitable though as Gaskell ran at the line from close range after a neat Kruise Leeming pass to score, Brough adding the extras this time as the Giants edged ahead. The Airlie Birds responded in due course. After a penalty, the home side spread the ball out to the right and Connor showed great pace to burst through the Giants’ defence with a neat dummy and score, Sneyd accurate with the boot as the home side lead once again at 12-10. In an end to-end-affair, Huddersfield countered once more and as the ball was moved out to the right near the line, young Alex Mellor showed great strength to barge over for a try, Brough converting expertly from out wide to make it 16-12 to Rick Stone’s men. Huddersfield continued to exploit Hull’s left edge and McIntosh was in again after rounding Connor following a sweeping move (40), Brough converting to leave the Giants with a deserved ten point lead going into half-time.
The second-half began with a penalty in Huddersfield’s favour, the Giants choosing to take the two points under the sticks as Brough converted to stretch their lead to 24-12. Fonua’s wild attempt to offload then fell to McIntosh who broke away into Hull’s half. Moving upfield, Tyler Dickinson showed immense strength to crash over for a try, Brough converting as the Giants piled the pressure on the Airlie Birds at 30-12. Lee Gaskell made it a brace of tries as he breezed through the Hull defence after Connor’s initial knock-on in the tackle, deputising kicker Jordan Rankin missing the kick but the Giants didn’t mind as they took a firm grip on the game. The Black & Whites gave themselves a lifeline as Josh Griffin broke down the left-edge and showed great speed and strength to go over in the corner, Sneyd expertly converting to narrow the deficit to 34-18. It would be a brief reprieve though as the away side penetrated the left-edge once again, Leeming showing great ability to outmanoeuvre Michaels to touch down, Rankin accurate with the kick this time to make it 40-18. The Giants continued to press and duly punished Hull again after Fonua was unable to deal with a grubber-kick and Gaskell pounced to make it a hat-trick on the night, Rankin kicking once again to give Huddersfield an unassailable lead as the full-time hooter sounded. It was a night to forget for Hull as they head to Wembley for the Challenge Cup Final, whilst Huddersfield keep their faint top four aspirations alive with a much-improved performance.
Report by Callum Thompson